08/13/06 — ECU holds first scrimmage

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ECU holds first scrimmage

Published in Sports on August 13, 2006 2:14 AM

GREENVILLE -- An efficient offensive rushing attack and a physical, turnover-forcing defensive unit highlighted East Carolina's first intra-squad scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The controlled contest, which was played in pleasant conditions under sunny skies with temperatures in the upper 70s, consisted of 12, 10-play possessions and a brief series of goal line situations.

The Pirates' top offensive unit, engineered by senior quarterback James Pinkney, turned in the day's most impressive effort as it drove into the redzone on three of its four possessions and cashed in two of the drives with a field goal and a two-yard touchdown run by junior Chris Johnson.

On the other hand, ECU's defense kept the second and third offensive levels out of the endzone and netted four of its five turnovers during those matchups, which included interceptions by sophomore Leon Best and freshman Melvin Patterson, and fumble recoveries by rookie Chris Atkins and junior Durwin Lamb.

"We wanted the second and third teams to get a bunch of work to help us develop our depth chart," head coach Skip Holtz said. "This scrimmage will allow us to get more reps and focus specifically on the first and second teams as we head into next week as well as starting our preparations for Navy."

Redshirt freshman Brett Clay guided the second unit while sophomore Patrick Pinkney and redshirt freshman Rob Kass each took turns leading the Pirates' third team during the 10-play series.

"I thought the hitting on defense was good," Holtz added. "We didn't give up too many big plays, which was encouraging. On the flipside, we still missed a lot of tackles and had some costly penalties."

In all, the second and third defensive units surrendered just two plays over 20 yards with the longest coming on a 59-yard strike from Patrick Pinkney to redshirt freshman Alex Taylor during the scrimmage's opening possession. Two of the Pirates' 14 penalties, a pair of holding calls, negated two long touchdown runs by senior Brandon Fractious.

Johnson, Fractious and sophomore Dominique Lindsay averaged over five yards per carry on a combined 32 attempts to pace a revitalized ECU rushing attack.

"I thought our running backs did a great job today," Holtz summed up. "Chris Johnson broke some big tackles and is looking really good. We were able to run the ball north and south for about 4-5 yards a carry. Brandon Fractious and Dominique Lindsay also ran extremely well."

Sophomore Quentin Cotton led a defensive effort with 10 stops and recorded three of East Carolina's total of eight tackles which resulted in lost yardage.

The Pirates will take a day off from the field today before returning to the Cliff Moore Practice Complex Monday for their second two-a-day schedule of camp. ECU will conduct the pair of workouts beginning at 8:45 a.m. and 3:50 p.m.